M. Giant's
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008  

Over His Head

M. Edium loves the water. He loves his inflatable wading pool, the park wading pool, the beach, any hotel swimming pool regardless of size, the bath, the shower, sinks, hoses, sprinklers, rain, puddles, and a sippy-cup that he still insists on having in bed with him at night (although we call it a water bottle now, out of respect for his advanced maturity). He also loves fog, steam, and even extreme humidity. In Florida, where the windows on the air-conditioned buses were covered with condensation like soda cans, he was in his element.

Still, we were a little later than we meant to be in getting him started on swimming lessons. But we've started now, and every Monday evening, a half hour before his normal bedtime, I put our swim trunks on under our pants, stick his pajamas and a couple of towels into a tote bag, and walk across the street with him to the high school. Well, except for last Monday evening, when he was asleep. In Florida.

I remember when I was a kid in grade school, our swimming lessons were at the local junior high school pool. Before our class they had the baby "swimming" class, which as far as I could tell consisted of grown women slowly walking the length of the pool and periodically submerging the infants they were holding, studiously ignoring the fact that every molecule of air each baby got to take in was expelled with a few hundred added decibels of shrieking. I don't know if this is still in vogue today, but even at the time it bothered me, and I hated babies. Although now that those babies are grown up, it might explain why so many people in this country seem to be okay with waterboarding.

So a few decades later, here I am getting in the pool with my own kid rather than handing him over to a Red Cross interrogation specialist. It's only a six-week course, so I wasn't expecting him to be able to swim the length of the pool underwater or anything, but so far what we seem to be concentrating on is helping the kids learn how to be moved along the surface of the water while being held by their parents. A little disappointing, since M. Edium had already more or less mastered that.

It's good practice for listening to the teacher, however, which I'm sure a lot of us could use. And since the lessons only last thirty minutes, we're done by what is technically his bedtime. A bit of locker-room wrangling later, and we're home by the time he's supposed to be asleep. Which means he gets to sleep about two hours later than usual, an insignificant period of time in geological terms.

The next class level is for small children who are comfortable being in over their heads without their parents. With only three remaining weeks of "hold your child in the water this way," I'm not sure he's going to graduate. Is it cynical of me to wonder if these lessons aren't just a moneymaking ploy by the greedy, rapacious Community Ed people?

If so, that's fine. To be honest, I'm not ready for him to be comfortable in the pool without me, either.

posted by M. Giant 5:25 PM 0 comments


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